Cart 0

Jewelry Glossary with Photos: A

Posted by Laurie Zeiden on



ABALONE: The inner shell of a mollusk. Abalone is often iridescent in color. It is seen is shades of blues, greens, and even white and off-white. White tones are usually called mother-of-pearl or nacre.



ABBREVIATIONS:  Commonly seen jewelry related abbreviatons
AB - Aurora Borealis
GF - Gold Filled
MOP - Mother of Pearl
SS - Sterling Silver

ACROSTIC JEWELRY: A jewelry theme wherein an acronym or abbreviation is formed from the initial letters of a string of words. 
AIE - Amity Eternity Infinity
DEAREST - Diamond Emerald Amethyst Ruby Emerald Sapphire Topaz
REGARD - Ruby Emerald Garnet Amethyst Ruby Diamond

(left) DEAREST Photo courtesy of A Magnificent Mess, an Etsy shop
(right) REGARDS Photo Courtesy of The More the Merrier, a Ruby Lane shop

ACRYLIC: Lightweight plastic trademarked as Plexiglass and Lucite


AGATE:  A variety of chalcedony, a natural material. Agate comes in a variety of colors and designs. Types of agate include banded, bull's eye, moss, Montrose, striped, lace, thunder-egg, and more.




ALBERT CHAIN: A man's pocket watch chain with a swivel hook on one end and a T-hook on the other end which is threaded through a buttonhole.They are often decorated with attached, dangling charms or fobs. A daintier version, often with a tassel attached, is called an ALBERTINA CHAIN.


ALPACA: A metal alloy. Alpaca is usually silver in color but has no silver in it. It is usually a combination of zinc, nickel, and / or tin.


AMBER: A natural material made from fossilized tree resin


AMETHYST: A type of quartz in shades of purple ranging from pale lilac to deep purple


ANTIQUE:  A loosely defined and applied term meaning 100 years or older. Items less than 100 years old are referred to as vintage or collectible.

ARABESQUE: A term used to describe ornate classic jewelry with intricate motifs which include scrolls and foliage.

ARGENT: Silver (French)

ART DECO:  A design movement started in Paris in the 1920s and lasting thru the 1930s. Characteristics of design were geometric shapes and straight lines which contrasted from the curvy, scrolled designs of the Art Nouveau movement.


ART NOUVEAU: A design movement which started in the 1890s and lasted until about 1920. Characteristics included scrolls, curves, foliage motifs, and sensual women.


 ARTICULATED: Jewelry with moving parts or joints


ARTS & CRAFTS: Period of design from approximately 1880 to 1920 characterized by the use of non-precious metals. Designs often had a hand-crafted look and many took inspiration from nature. 


ATOMIC: Jewelry from the 1940s through the 1960s when the threat of nuclear war was present. Starbursts, swirls, and explosions were dominant themes.



AURORA BOREALIS: Rhinestone treatment producing an iridescent coating giving the stones a shimmering appearance. Abbreviated AB.


The Jewelry Glossary is a work in progress: As I add more posts, you can access them here:

I hope you enjoyed the photos. To see what's available for sale at my site, visit World of Eccentricity & Charm or click here.

Hoping to have a subscription option available soon. In the meantime, visit the website weekly to read my blog. You can bookmark this link.


Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

  • This is the bomb, Laurie! Can’t wait to see the rest over time. By far, the most descriptive alphabet glossary I have ever seen for costume/vintage jewelry.

    Missy on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.